Monday, 11 January 2010

Where's the Catholic?

Go on, have a go, you won't find him.

The Government's 'Communities and Local Government' website have revealed that...

To encourage a deeper and broader relationship between Government and faith communities, Communities Secretary John Denham today announced the appointment of 13 new faith advisers who will act as a 'sounding board' to advise on effective engagement with faith communities, and the impact of Communities and Local Government policy on faith communities.

Mr Denham has responsibility for the Government's public policy on faith. While recognising the significant contributions that faith communities have made to work on key issues such as homelessness and tackling poverty at home abroad, he is keen to stress the importance of respecting faith in its own right and not as a prop to Government when it has a problem to solve. The 13 advisers, all experts in their chosen field, will enhance ministerial understanding of, and engagement, with faith communities nationally.

Government already engages with faith communities through the Faith Communities Consultative Council (FCCC) and their important role will continue. However over recent months John Denham has said that he wants to see as many channels of communication open as possible and this includes hearing from a wide range of expert voices.

John Denham said, "This new panel brings together an unprecedented wealth of knowledge and experience that will blah, blah, blah."

Anyway, let's cut to the chase. As 'Cranmer' reports with a sense of good will and fraternal injustice at the exclusion of Catholics, the members of the panel are:

  • Canon Dr Alan Billings - Formerly Director of the Centre for Ethics and Religion at the University of Lancaster.
  • Dr Harriet Crabtree - Director of the Inter Faith Network for the UK.
  • Marcia Dixon - Editor of Keep the Faith, a publication distributed to black majority churches.
  • Dr Doreen Finneron - Founder and director of the Faith Based Regeneration Network.
  • Jenny Kartupelis - Director of the East of England Faiths Council and Fellow of the Faiths and Civil Society Unit at Goldsmiths College.
  • Wakkas Khan - Director of the Exploring Islam Foundation and a founding member of the Radical Middle Way.
  • Alveena Malik - A Principle Associate at the Institute of Community Cohesion and a Trustee of the Muslim Institute.
  • Mehri Niknam - Founder and director of the Joseph Interfaith Foundation.
  • Rosalind Preston - President of the Jewish Volunteer Network and Chair of Nightingale House.
  • Dr Jasdev Singh Rai - General Secretary of the British Sikh Consultative Forum and Director of the Sikh Human Rights Group.
  • Bishop Tim Stevens - Anglican Bishop of Leicester and Founder and Chair of the Faith Leaders Forum of Leicester.
  • Arjan Vekaria - President of Shree Kutch Leva Patel Community (UK) and the Hindu Forum of Britain.
  • Prof Paul Weller - Head of Research and Commercial Development, Faculty of Education, Health and Sciences and Professor of Inter-Religious Relations, University of Derby.

So, with nearly 2,000 years of works of mercy, charitable efforts at alleviating the plight of the poor, miracles, saints, mystics, popes, encyclicals on social justice, holy priests, bishops, nuns, religious orders and heritage behind us, Catholics apparently have nothing to offer in terms of advice to the Government's 'faith advice' team, even though the Holy Father is coming this year to visit the 8% of the population of the UK who are in communion with the Successor of St Peter, a fraction of the 1 billion Catholics throughout the World.

Well, I suppose they wouldn't want to invite anyone who actually disagrees with them on the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority, sex education programmes for teenies and weenies, promotion of contraception, abortion, civil partnerships and any 'faith issue' which actually touches on human morality? That would just be unfair! Those Catholics would just spoil the party!


Physiocrat said...

It's an honour to be excluded. It looks like just another bloody talking shop, like ARCIC. Who would want to waste their time? Would you, Laurence? Perhaps some Catholics were asked and declined, knowing that these committees just become tools of the government which will do what it wants anyway, regardless of who is elected and whatever committees it sets up and puts in its pocket.

Anyway, since we have the living God in our churches, what need have we of places on boring committees?

Kate said...

Could be less embarrassing all round, if there is no 'official' Catholic representation on this quango!

Dominic Mary said...

It's interesting to note that huge sections of the Church of England are excluded, as are the mainstream Nonconformist denominations, and Orthodoxy.

Most of Judaism is ignored, and I can't see any representation of Buddhists, Parsis, or several other faiths of Asiatic origin . . . in other words, there's no real attempt to represent anything, so it's just so much window-dressing, and simply designed to endorse whatever half-baked ideas the Government puts before it.

Physiocrat said...

Yes, interesting comment on Jewish representation, there is nobody with any religious status on the committee. It is just window-dressing again.

Crux Fidelis said...

Interesting to see Paul Weller in that list. I preferred him when he was in the Jam. ;¬p

The Bones said...

Yes. I noticed that too! I think he's 'gone underground' for a while. Maybe the latest solo album flopped and he went into faith advice.

Crux Fidelis said...

I heard he's calling his new album "All God Cons".

The Bones said...

I heard he has changed the title of the song, 'The Bitterest Pill' to 'The Tablet'.

Crux Fidelis said...

LOL! However, the Faith Communities Consultative Council isn't as catchy a name as the Style Council, is it? Will their advice be readily heeded or will they have to shout to the top? I doubt if such a wishy washy sounding body will have the clout to make the walls come tumbling down.

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